City Council Meeting 8-6-2020

MINUTES

CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Officials Present by Teleconference

Mayor:                    Awet Eyasu
Council:                  YT Bell, Jamie Carroll,

Ahmed Hassan, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson

City Manager:         Robin I. Gomez
City Clerk:              Tracy Ashby
City Attorney:        Stephen Quinn

 

 

  1. CALL TO ORDER
    Vice-Mayor Eyasu called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.

 

  1. ROLL CALL/ PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Present:  YT Bell, Jamie Carroll, Laura Hopkins, Debra Johnson, Awet Eyasu,

      Ahmed Hassan arrived 8:49PM.
 

  1. ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS/ PRESENTATION

C1) Approve Minutes: Council Meeting 7/7/2020 and Special Call Meeting 7/21/2020 Minutes

Debra Johnson made a motion to approve the minutes for the Council Meeting 7/7/2020 and Special Call Meeting 7/21/2020 Minutes.   Laura Hopkins seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried. (5, 0).

 

D.    REPORTS: 

1)  Planning & Zoning Report

Shawanna Qawiy reported on activities in her Department and the status of ongoing projects.  The Planning & Zoning Committee will have their next meeting on 7/21/2020 to hold a Public Hearing on amending the zoning ordinance to include NR3 to require submit plans for a rezoning request. Ms. Qawiy answered questions regarding the tree survey for the East Avenue development.

 

2)  City Manager’s Report

Mr. Gomez provided a detailed status of the current City operation under covid. He thanked the City Staff for their work and patience under this unique situation. The City continues to provide city services and residents can contact staff through electronic (email) and phone. He provided a financial report through July 31, 2020 and discussed the SPLOST fund current balance.

 

3)  City Attorney’s Report

Stephen Quinn provided the status of the CARES Act funding thru DeKalb County.  The County is working on the IGA agreement and the current IGA calls for Clarkston to receive $1.3 million in funds.  The IGA is not final but does not impose any additional restrictions beyond what the original CARES Act restrictions were and the City Manager advised he would forward the CARES Act guidelines with the staff Friday report.  

 

4)  Council Remarks

YT Bell reported she is working with key Clarkston stakeholders and non-profits for a central website to provide information on services and resources.  

 

Jamie Carroll stated he continues to attend the Clarkston Early Learning Task Force meetings and they discussed information from the National Leagues of Cities that can assist with education. He thanked the City for opening the dog park.

 

Laura Hopkins thanked the City for the great job with the walking tour of developments. She thanked Debra Johnson and Vice Mayor Eyasu for their hard work with the food distribution events.

 

Debra Johnson reported on the successful Food drive event and she thanked the Public Works Department for making an additional food pick up for distribution and the Chief and her staff for assisting with the event.  She stated that Clarkston has partnered with DeKalb County and there should be one distribution each month through the end of the year.

 

5) Mayor’s Report
Vice Mayor Awet Eyasu reported on his attendance of the Mayors meeting for DeKalb County on the CARES Act funding. He was hopeful the IGA will be completed shortly and the City will hold a special call to adopt He attended the Early learning Task force meeting. He thanked the City Manager, Debra Johnson and all volunteers that participated in the food drive.

 

E.  PUBLIC COMMENTS

Any member of the public may address the Council, during the time allotted for public comment. Each attendee will be allowed 3 minutes for comments at the discretion of the Presiding Officer. The public comment period will be limited to 40 minutes and it is not a time for dialogue. If your public comment contains a series of questions, please submit those to the City Clerk in writing. This will facilitate follow-up by the council or staff. The City Council desires to allow an opportunity for public comment; however, the business of the City must proceed in an orderly, timely manner.

 

 Susan Hood thanked the City Staff for how they have addressed operations during the covid issue. She provided a reminder that West Nile season will be starting and for residents to be mindful and she discussed Friendship Forrest.

 

Warren Hadlock requested signage be provided to businesses for the mask mandate and for Friendship Forrest to continue to honor the original intention of a nature preserve.

 

Brian Medford thanked the Public Works for clearing Rowland Street and he requested the Council proceed with the professional Zoning ordinance rewrite through the RFP process.

 

Ellie Thaxton discussed concerns with preventing renters from being evicted by allocating the remaining Housing Fund and providing additional funds under the CARES Act.

 

Chris Busing addressed concerns with Sanctuary Cities and Counties and his concerns with a mask mandate.


The Vice-Mayor closed public comments.

 

F.  OLD BUSINESS

None

 

G.  NEW BUSINESS
G1) Public Hearing: Text amendment to the Clarkston Zoning Ordinance Require Site Plan for Rezoning Applications seeking the NR-3 designation.

Laura Hopkins provided an overview of the proposed text amendment to amend the Clarkston Zoning Ordinance, Appendix A of the City Code of Ordinances, Article III-Administration-to Require a Site Plan for Rezoning Applications seeking the NR-3 designation. The amendment would require the submission of a development plan, drawn to scale provided to the Council in advance before any vote for a zoning request in NR-3.

 

The Vice Mayor opened the Public Hearing

 

In Support

Warren Hadlock spoke in support of the Text amendment to the Clarkston Zoning Ordinance Require Site Plan for Rezoning Applications seeking the NR-3 designation

 

Shana McAllister spoke in support of the Text Amendment

 

Dean Moore spoke in support of the Text Amendment

 

In Opposition

Brian Medford spoke in opposition of the text amendment.  He encouraged holding for a comprehensive Professional Zoning Review.

 

Council discussion on the financial impact on smaller developers of requiring a site plan.   Council also discussed approving this text amendment versus waiting for the full zoning review/rewrite. 

 

Laura Hopkins made a motion to approve G1 to add the NR3 Zoning code to the designation of zoning codes that require a site plan to change.  Awet Eyasu seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (3- Yes: Eyasu, Hopkins, Johnson, 1- No: Carroll, 1- Abstain: Bell).

 

G2) Declare Surplus police vehicles

The City Manager stated this is to meet Georgia Code to declare two police vehicles as surplus to allow them to be sold at auction.

 

YT Bell made a motion adopt the resolution to Declare Surplus police vehicles.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0).

 

G3) Approve MOA between Majestic Indian Creek, LLC and the City for a Stormwater Improvement Project (DeBelle St and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf)

The City Manager stated the purpose is to approve a Memorandum of Agreement between Majestic Indian Creek LLC (representing Indian Creek Apartments located at 928 N Indian Creek Rd) and the City of Clarkston for Majestic to share in the cost of the stormwater infrastructure improvement project located on DeBelle St and the adjacent property housing the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf.

 

Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve MOA between Majestic Indian Creek, LLC and the City for a Stormwater Improvement Project (DeBelle St and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf).  YT Bell seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0).

 

G4) Form a standing advisory committee on Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity

Laura Hopkins discussed the purpose to add a new Standing Advisory Committee Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity and her interest to Chair the committee.

 

Debra Johnson made a motion to adopt the resolution establishing a standing advisory committee on Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity and to appoint the members.  Laura Hopkins seconded the motion. Discussion with the City Attorney if a second item is required to appoint the Chair. The City Attorney advised the item could be addressed under one motion.

 

Councilmember Ahmed Hassan joined the meeting (8:49pm).

 

Debra Johnson amended her motion to form a standing advisory committee on Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity and to appoint Councilwoman Hopkins as the Chair.   Laura Hopkins seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).

 

G5) Housing relief to unemployed residents both rent and mortgage relief by partnering with non-profit organizations and intergovernmental cooperation.

Awet Eyasu discussed his interest for the City to provide continued rent assistance and to include mortgage assistance from the Affordable Housing Fund. When the DeKalb IGA for the CARES Act funding is completed, then the Council can revisit the assistance and funding review.

 

Jamie Carroll discussed that he sponsored item G6 and perhaps the discussion could be combined with supporting the rent assistance as the mortgage issue is not pressing at this time and funding can be replaced with the CARES Act funds. Discussion on apportion to dedicate to rental assistance or mortgage relief.

 

Jamie Carroll proposed $75k total to be used for both and provide as requested.

 

Awet Eyasu made a motion to allocate $25,000 from the Affordable Housing Fund to provide temporary mortgage assistance due to Covid and to allocate $25,000 for rental assistance and amend the mortgage resolution to reduce the lien from three years to one year. Discussion on reducing lien timeframe.

 

Vice Mayor Eyasu withdrew his motion. 

 

Vice Mayor Eyasu made a motion to allocate $25,000 from the Affordable Housing Fund to provide temporary mortgage assistance due to Covid and to allocate $50,000 for rental assistance due to Covid and to amend the mortgage resolution to remove the lien clause. Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).

 

G6) Emergency Assistance Program - Increase the funds for the Rental Relief Program, Clarify to Allow for up to One Half of Three Months of Back Rent to be Paid to Qualified Applicants

Councilman Carroll stated he felt this could be tabled until the next month as item G5 has allotted additional funds for rental assistance.

Councilman Carroll made a motion to table until next month’s meeting.  YT Bell seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).

 

G7) Friendship Forest policies: Native species only policy and ban on artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and ban on active sporting activities to insure that Friendship Forest remains a passive park

The Vice Mayor provided background on the purpose of the item to insure that Friendship Forest, which the City has spent considerable funds on, will remain as a passive park. Discussion that the design of the open field area is part of the reasons visitors consider it an appropriate place to set up for sport play.

 

Jamie Carroll made a motion to adjourn the meeting.YT Bell seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).

 

Meeting adjourned 9: 44p.
 

H.   ADJOURNMENT:

Laura Hopkins made a motion to adjourn the Council Meeting.  Awet Eyasu seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).

 

Meeting adjourned